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I reached out to Instagram recently and asked “If you sell on eBay, what is your biggest frustration?”.
The response was massive and it seems a lot of people are annoyed by the same things.
I, like everyone else, also get frustrated with eBay – however I do believe the pros outweigh the cons and there are ways to manage and reduce the frustrations.
Read on to find out eBay seller’s biggest gripes and what you can do to manage and deal with them.
Fees. This was inevitably going to be the biggest one. The fees are high yes, but it is what it is really. If you are a private seller I touched on ways to reduce your fees in this post. Ultimately, you just have to accept them and be done with it.
If you really don’t want to pay fees, you could try other selling platforms – I shared some alternatives in this post – The Best Places To Sell Clothes. However, personally, I think eBay is the best place to sell and therefore accept the fees for what they are. You have greater protection for disputes, people are less likely to mess you around and money is paid into your PayPal. Not to mention that it’s a global platform, so your potential sales base is massive in comparison to the free alternatives.
If you list your items ‘Buy It Now’ you can tick a box when you are listing your item that says ‘Require immediate payment when buyer uses Buy It Now’.
If you have accepted an offer or an auction has ended and the buyer doesn’t pay straightaway, you can send them a payment reminder. This is a generic message, which says something along the lines of, “I’m ready to dispatch your item, but unfortunately I haven’t received payment yet…” – usually, this reminds the buyer that they won the auction and need to pay.
If they still don’t pay, it’s up to you how long you decide to wait. You can however, open an unpaid item case 48 hours after the item has ended. If they don’t pay by the 5th day after a case has been opened, you will be able to close the case and receive a final value fee credit. It is in a buyer’s best interest to make a payment once a case has been opened because it will negatively impact their profile if they don’t.
If someone messages you and says can they pay in a week or whatever – it’s up to you whether you choose to accept that or not.
I have noticed that feedback isn’t left as often as it once was. I think this is possibly down to more people using the app and it not being as obvious that you have to leave feedback as it is on the desktop. @Silverhanduk messaged me with the following tip for encouraging feedback:
I’ve realised that leaving feedback doesn’t get you feedback. So what I do, for a more personal touch, is send them a direct generic message. “Hi, Firstly, congratulations for the winning bid. Secondly, we hope you’ll love your purchase & thirdly, thank you, your item has been dispatched today, enjoy. Feedback is always very much appreciated.”
If you are listing BIN or best offer, you can automatically decline offers under a certain amount when you create the listing.
Alternatively, you can counter offer and send a message politely saying that serious offers will be considered. Or you can outright decline. It is easier said than done sometimes, but it’s much better to not engage with or antagonise buyers who are likely to be an issue – and you can usually spot them a mile away. Stay polite and professional.
Ebay does rule in the buyers favour in a lot of cases. However, I’ve seen some sellers on Instagram share that they have successfully challenged an eBay ruling – so it is always worth contacting them and arguing your case if you believe the buyer has cheated the system.
The best thing to do though, is try to avoid these situations altogether. Stay calm, friendly and professional in all communication and never try to argue with someone. If someone is trying to wangle a partial/full refund, just ask them to return the item for a full refund. Quite often, buyers are just trying their luck and actually won’t send the item back. If they do, cut your losses, accept the return, relist and move on.
Also, to minimise the chance of returns be very clear in your pictures and descriptions. Make sure all defects are well documented and shown in photos, and take clear photos from all angles – this is useful is a buyer tries to say an items not as described if you have lots of pictures showing that it was.
Ultimately, eBay favouring the buyer is a good thing – as it means we as buyers are protected. It hasn’t happened often, but I have in the past had to open a case against a seller so was thankful that eBay ruled in my favour in that instance.
If you find that you are constantly relisting items there are a few things you could try.
1. Switch to an auction instead of BIN
2. Tweak the title/description – maybe insert relevant seasonal keywords “wedding” “festival” “holiday”
3. Take new pictures
4. Look at similar listings that have sold and compare to your own listing to see what they might’ve included that you haven’t.
5. When all else fails and I’ve relisted too many times I just chuck on a 99p auction and hope for the best.
It’s an arduous task, there’s no denying that – but then you have to decide how important it is to you. Recently I spent 4/5 hours listing and made 13 sales which after fees came to £55 – was it worth it? Convert that to an hourly rate and I’d say so. If you’re serious about shifting your old belongings and making some extra money – it’s worth it. If you need space in your home and you don’t need the money – perhaps it’s not worth your time.
I hate going to the post office and avoid it as much as I possibly can. I only go to the post office to send an item signed for, and I only send it signed for if it sells for over £20. Instead I print my postage myself and drop in a postbox or to the royal mail delivery office. You can read more about different postage options here.
Personally, I track my sales on a spreadsheet and leave the required amount for fees in my PayPal. But you can pay fees manually once you’ve made a sale, so you don’t have to wait for the monthly invoice to be deducted. You can read more about that in this post Understanding Ebay Fees – Ebay For Beginners
There is a new feature whereby you can send offers to watchers. You can read more about how to do this in this post: How To Send Offers To Buyers
Also, you could try tweaking the price. EBay will often send an email to watchers, or even just people who have viewed the item saying something like ‘the item you were looking at has been reduced, grab a bargain’.
You might also enjoy… 8 Useful Tips and Tools for New Ebay Sellers
At the end of the day, eBay is a personal choice and it’s never going to be for everyone. But if you do need to make some extra money, I think it’s worthwhile. Hopefully this post will allow to overcome some of your biggest frustrations. If there’s something that bugs you I’ve missed – let me know!
I started Katie Saves while on Maternity Leave to document our adjustment to living on less. Now back in work - I blog about all things money with a little life organisation thrown in for good measure. Join me!